Math Imposter Sets (with Video and PDF)

Over 15 years ago, I began using Imposter Sets in my math classroom.  Imposter Sets frequently produce rich, insightful discussion about important math concepts.  Students readily embrace the mystery of Imposter Sets.  Classroom discussions are frequently characterized by investigation, exploration, and wonder.  Those are powerful responses to a strategy that is actually very simple to use.

 

Recently I was asked to share more about Imposter Sets.  What are they?  How can they be used in the classroom?

 

You’ll find several resources below.  I just recorded a video explaining Imposter Sets, and there is also a PDF ready for you to download.  I hope your classroom will be filled with a sense of investigation and wonder.

 

Imposter Pic

 

Click here to download a PDF with some ready-to-use Imposter Sets.

 

Enjoy the video!

Using Imposter Sets in the Classroom

 

If you would like to learn about more animated math instructional strategies, you’ll find additional posts listed on the left, including the “I’m on a Learning Mission” all-time most popular post The Animated Multiplication Table.

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  1. This is very similar to the Which One Doesn’t Belong (WODB) idea. I have had great success with this in my Gr2 classroom. Thanks!

  2. I just found this while searching ideas for Number Talks and absolutely love it. This idea/concept of Imposter Sets can be used at any level just by changing to 4 items to graphs, equations, shapes, etc.

    Thanks for publishing this, I plan on using this in our next Math Institute.

    1. Hi, Aaron. I’m really glad that you are taking this and using it with your students. You are absolutely correct that this can be used at any level. Take a look at http://wodb.ca/ and click on the graphs tab at the very top. WODB has done some excellent work with a very similar concept and I think you could do amazing things with the images found there. If you look really carefully you’ll see some subtle differences in the approaches but I think the nuances really inform the strategies nicely.

    1. Thank you for the question. You can subscribe to the blog via email subscription in the top right corner of the blog. I believe it’s more visible on a computer than on a mobile device. Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. Thanks for the video.
    If playing Imposter Sets becomes to declarative and you want to go the interrogative route…
    For students having trouble and needing to level up…the teacher or student can assist with…
    Uni-Q [as opposed to Imposter Set]
    What one question can you ask that will cue the listener into the uniqueness?

  4. Forget the nugget…thanks for throwing us the whole gold bar Steve! I’ll definitely be sharing this with teachers and letting them know where they can find more of the good stuff! Cheers!

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